|Grrr ... (Getty Images)|
So Nationals manager Davey Johnson, after his team's frustrating loss to the Phillies on Sunday, had a rather heated phone conversation with his boss, GM Mike Rizzo. The conversation ended with Johnson's bellowing, "Why don't you come down here and manage this team!"
Shocky-shocking? Not especially. After all, competitive fellows populate this game, and sometimes they clash. The difference in this instance, though, is that the Nationals' media contingent was in earshot, and they were even ushered out of the clubhouse for about 10 minutes after Johnson's outburst. So is there a rift between the architect and dugout leader of the NL's best team? No, says Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider. He writes:
It all sounds like juicy and salacious stuff, because it's the kind of outburst that rarely takes place within earshot of reporters. But that's the key point: This stuff rarely takes place within earshot of reporters. That doesn't mean it doesn't take place when reporters are nowhere in sight.
Do you honestly think Johnson and Rizzo have never gotten into an argument before? Do you know anything about these two men? Each is an emotional, competitive, baseball lifer with strong opinions and supreme confidence in how he performs his job. Frankly, it would be more concerning if they never raised their voice at each other.
True enough. We've seen all kinds of teams succeed despite occasional or chronic discord (the championship Yankee teams of the late 1970s, to cite but one example, pretty much all hated one another), and like all teams the Nats will succeed or fail because of talent and the management of same. This is nothing more than a symptom of a team that's going through a challenging stretch. For all we know, it happens every day.